Vieques (vyāˈkās) [key], island (1990 pop. 8,602), 51 sq mi (132 sq km), off E Puerto Rico. It is hilly, with a dry, warm climate. The town of Vieques, commonly called
Most of Vieques was within U.S. military installations from the 1940s. The facilities included a live-ammunition training area for the U.S. navy, a use that was the subject of protests by many Puerto Ricans. In 2001 the federal government announced that it would halt all military exercises on the island by May, 2003, but in the meantime use of the island for training continued to spark protests. The former installations are now being converted to a wildlife refuge and cleared of unexploded munitions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.